Akcea Therapeutics surges 31% on major licensing deal with Pfizer


Among the biggest winners on Monday was Akcea Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKCA), a $1.41 billion biotech company that announced a major partnership with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). The agreement in question is a licensing deal that would give Pfizer the rights to license the drug developed by Akcea, otherwise known as AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx.

Overall, Pfizer will pay out a $250 million fee for the drug, which is still in a relatively earlier stage of development. The drug is meant to treat patients who have specific cardiovascular and metabolic dysfunctions, a medical area where there are few existing treatments. While Akcea’s drug candidate is still undergoing a phase 2 clinical trial regarding its effectiveness, the deal with Pfizer would see the pharmaceutical giant cover future development costs of the drug.

The deal was a surprise announcement to many investors who have previously been worried about the state of Akcea following the sudden loss of its previous senior executives. However, today’s announcement helped regain investor confidence following what has been a difficult couple of months for the stock.

“AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is a novel therapy that will complement our clinical mid-stage internal medicine pipeline, and we believe that our deep expertise in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases will help allow this program to reach its maximum potential for patients,” said Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer Mikael Dolsten in an official statement.

In response to the news, shares of Akcea jumped up by 31.3%. While the good news definitely was the catalyst behind this rise, there are also other reasons why investors feel reassured. Over the past couple of months, Akcea’s stock price has steadily fallen in light of several major departures. This includes the loss of its former CEO, COO, and president. While the press release at the time didn’t say much, word on the street is that Akcea’s board of directors wasn’t happy with how the management team was handling the launches of its previous drug candidates.

This recent announcement, however, is seen as a particularly good sign that the company’s new management has what it takes to successfully pull off major deals. At the moment, the relatively few analysts covering Akcea’s stock are split between a more neutral “hold” rating and a highly optimistic “buy” rating. While it’s uncertain whether or not the company’s new management will succeed at turning things around for the biotech company, this recent deal with Pfizer is definitely a step in the right direction.

Akcea Therapeutics Company Profile

Akcea Therapeutics Inc is a late stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing drugs to treat patients with serious cardiometabolic diseases caused by lipid disorders. It is advancing a mature pipeline of novel drugs with the potential to treat multiple diseases. The company’s drugs, volanesorsen, AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx, AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx, are all based on antisense technology developed by Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Its most advanced drug, volanesorsen, has completed a Phase 3 clinical program for the treatment of familial chylomicronemia syndrome, or FCS, and is currently in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of familial partial lipodystrophy, or FPL. – Warrior Trading News